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Marcel Reece: 'Football's fun again' in Oakland

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Bruce Irvin isn't the only Raiders player who sees Oakland as a club on the rise.

After the pass rusher said the Silver and Black were "ready to take that next step" and capture the AFC West, Oakland's longest-tenured position player chimed in about the new vibe in Raider Land.

"This is year nine for me (so) I've been around a lot of coaches, a lot of players, and this is real belief, you know?" Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece told ESPN.com's Paul Gutierrez. "Everybody really believes. Everybody knows this is different. Everything is different, even from last year."

Said Reece: "Everybody saw a lot of growth last year but right now, the state of this team is unbelievable, something that I, personally, have never been around and only dreamed of. So it's fun being around the young guys, who are keeping me young. And it's just fun. Football's fun again."

If the Raiders make good on all the offseason buzz, Reece will enjoy the ride as much as anyone on the roster. That ride, though, will start later than planned, as Reece still has three games remaining on his four-game ban for violating the NFL Policy and Program for performance-enhancing substances.

Reece remains hopeful his suspension will eventually be thrown out, saying: "I'm kind of at peace with the situation as it is now, but at the same time want to get some sort of vindication and, as the young kids say, respek on my name."

Respect is something the Raiders seek, too, after failing to make the playoffs since 2002. They've earned plenty of buzz this offseason, but fluffy words in the final hours of May are meaningless. The acid test comes in September.

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